I got a very interesting Birthday Party invitation the other day. Erik set out a Pingg invite that started with the following:
You are invited to join a remarkable group of friends, creatives, and critical thinkers for a Sunday afternoon birthday gathering. We will tackle the question: What is a well-lived life? …What does it look like? How is it lived?
Not a bad idea for a birthday party right?
Erik is a friend I know from FLOW meetings. He has recently started a new venture called DoubleHappiness an offshoot of which is GoodMeet. Basically, Erik is a creative consultant who works with customers to create events that stir the pot, add ingredients and hopefully help to create new recipes. This includes ideation, problem solving, focus group facilitation, brainstorming, interactive events etc. Goodmeet is the meeting arm of this company which focuses on creating functional and enjoyable meetings of all kinds.
Erik’s birthday played with the Open Space Technology format to facilitate a group of strangers and friends to come together and, with relatively little instruction, self organe a series of activities focused on a particular topic. In this case, What is a Life Well Lived???
Each of the 14 attendees was asked to come prepared to faciliate a session (or three); speech, workshop, panel, activity, debate, pretty much anything on topic and within the space and technology provided. We each wrote a title for our session(s) on a piece of paper and then stuck this paper somewhere on a time line for the day. We each then signed up for sessions that interested us. From that point we simply self organized, usually into two groups, and tackled a couple of sessions at a time. There was a discussion on Entrepreneurship as Personal Growth, a debate on whether or not we should institute a draft, a meditation on love and happiness, Psychochronometry: the effects of aging on the perception of time, coloring, cake decorating, Creative Consumption, something called Bip Bop Pow and the Theory of Interdependence and a bunch of others that I am forgetting and/or we did not get to. I posed the question ‘Is There Danger?’ and we spent a few minutes discussing what danger is, how it is different for each of us and ways in which some of us may enjoy or feel a need for it.
There was a card game designed to put us in touch with our core values and intentions that involved everyone in the group writing human values on a large piece of paper, then each of us picking 15 of these to put on individual cards. Then, through a few rounds of ranking and elimination we eventually ended up with 5 cards. We then flipped these cards over and wrote a little something on the back. Mine ended up somewhat poetically. And thanks to a kickass and completely FREE image manipulation program I just found called GIMP you can see the front and back below (corrected for legibility).
So, I won’t say that we came up with an answer. But I will say that I think all involved enjoyed the exploration. We came together, many of us as strangers, and left significantly closer due to a well organized and incredibly free flowing 4 hours that were able to be exactly what we all wanted and needed them to. No more, no less. As the guidelines professed:
- Whoever comes are the right people
- Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened.
- Whenever it starts is the right time.
- When it is over, it is over.
I look forward to seeing what Erik will be up to in the future. I, unfortunately, missed last nights Live Arts Collaboration Salon organized by Allison, another B-Day attendee, where he and 4 other artists from different disciplines met to each give a 20 minute presentation of their work and process with the hope of creating collaboration, conversation and connection. Check out The Performance Project @ University Settlement for more info. This is something I’d actually love to do in the future (future meaning after The Emergence album has been released).
I recently posted the following to the iNYCs forum, but the same applies to all who might be interested. Please feel free to reach out and ask questions or take me up on the free health history offer. It will take about an hour of your time.
Nutrition has always struck me as a gap in the Integral world.
I think that Joshua Rosenthal has stepped up to fill that void.
I am currently enrolled in his Institute for Integrative Nutrition and, after the first few weekends of class, thoroughly impressed with how integral his approach is. I highly recommend his book called, surprise, Integrative Nutrition. It is a thoroughly holistic approach to health, happiness and well being. One of the most basic ideas behind his work is the distinction between Primary Food and Secondary Food.
Primary Food = Career, Physical Activity, Relationships, Spirituality
Secondary Food = What you eat
I don’t know if this strikes you as obvious or obtuse, but after years in the counseling world he noticed that there could be one group of people who ate absolute shit, yet thrived, and another who ate with a fervor that might be referred to as Orthorexia Nervosa, yet still struggled to feel good. The point was that nourishment does not only come from food, and in fact, secondary food can often have less of an effect on your health than primary food.
The Integrative Nutrition approach truly avoids dogma. It promotes bioindividuality, and prefers teaching how to think rather than what to think. It is incredibly free from prescription and embraces all diet types as true but partial. They go out of their way to give us two world leaders on two thoroughly contradictory dietary theories in the same weekend (Sally Fallon and Neal Barnard last weekend). This approach is more about empowering individuals to make a life time of choices (that will change over time) than it is about inviting another authority into your life who will pretend to know exactly what your body/mind needs. In breaking down the idea that someone else has it all figured out for you you free yourself to realize that your body has known all along, we just stopped listening.
The program is more about exposure to new ideas and experiences and developing an increased confidence and awareness of the body/mind/spirit than it is about adopting any one life style or diet. There are suggestions I will strongly advocate, but there is room for all paths along the way.
So, if anyone is looking for an integrally informed health counselor just let me know. I will be taking clients very soon and am currently offering free health history consultations to anyone who is interested in even considering.
For more information take a look at my new (and still under development) website at //www.integratenutrition.com/